Aug 26, 2011
New York officials preparing for Hurricane Irene this weekend will decide tomorrow whether to call for the evacuation of low-lying areas in downtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
The decision would be based on the strength, path and speed of the storm, Bloomberg told reporters today at a news conference in a flood-prone section of Queens. The city would offer “an enormous shelter system” for those without a place to stay on higher ground, he said.
“We don’t have enough information yet to make that call,” Bloomberg said. “The timing is a bit up in the air, as it is with all these things. Sometime on Friday, late in the day. How many depends on how severe we think the storm is going to be.”
Officials must decide whether to suggest or order people to seek higher ground, Bloomberg said. The mayor has the power to issue an executive order forcing evacuation, which Bloomberg said he would use only in the “worst circumstances.”